ECWA Battle at the Bob (11/25/2000)- Newark, DE
LOW KI vs. SCOOT ANDREWS- 7/10
This was a heck of an opener. You have this young punk hotshot kid Low Ki making his debut in ECWA against indy star and respected veteran Scoot Andrews and Ki wouldn’t show Andrews any respect, so this one immediately started off feeling mean and personal. The match was fast-paced and exciting, but they also made sure that everything they did counted. Andrews managed to hit Low Ki with his finisher but wanted to put the kid in his place by pinning him with a foot on the chest but Ki got his shoulder up. Andrews went for another move but Ki blocked it, hit the Ki Krusher, then went to the top rope and went for a Phoenix Splash… and he mostly missed so it wound up being more of a Phoenix Forearm Smash, which probably wound up hurting both guys like hell. When the ref’s hand hit the mat and the fans realized that Ki had just beat Scoot in his debut, there was a tangible air of surprise in the moment and excitement for the future in the pop.
JOHNNY MAXX, VINCENT GOODNITE, & THUNDER vs. MOZART FONTAINE, MR. OOH LA LA, & THE PERSIAN PRINCE (w/E.S. Easton & Barry Casino)- 4/10
Hey look: It’s ECW Straw Hat Guy in the front row yelling at a heel manager. Imagine that.
You know how I bitch all the time about how frustrating I find it when a promotion will cut away from the action in the ring to show us the commentators or the fans or whatever? Well this one wasn’t even a directorial decision. The guy with the camera thought it would be a good idea to just do a complete 360 to show me the crowd instead of doing his job and staying focused on the action.
The match was relatively short and not too exciting, but it was competently performed babyface vs. heel stuff, which is always at least going to be watchable even when it isn’t remarkable.
THREE-WAY DANCE FOR THE MCW SOUTHERN HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE: Steve Bradley(c) vs. Inferno vs. Simon Diamond (w/Dawn Marie)- 3.75/10
Dawn Marie was quite popular with the crowd for obvious reasons. She and Simon did some comedy on their entrance where Simon tripped over the ropes, though I’m not sure if the idea was that he was distracted by Dawn Marie or if he was expecting her to be holding the ropes open for him like he did for her and she didn’t. Or maybe the idea was that the ref was suppose dot be holding the ropes open for Simon but he was distracted by Dawn Marie and so he didn’t and Simon tripped? Both Simon and Dawn Marie seemed to be angry at the ref afterwards, so I think I’ll go with that, but I’m not sure.
They started off doing some decent three-way stuff that made a good effort of making sure that everyone was involved in everything so that it really felt like a three-way. Then things slowed down with a lot of teased locks and the sort of stuff that would generally be called stalling, but it actually served a purpose here, as it kind of played into the story of Inferno and Bradley being indecisive after the initial three-way exchanges, and the stalling actually felt like it kind of built up to them rolling to the outside and then forming an alliance.
I was getting into that story, which was made easier by the fact that this was a “Three-Way Dance” and thus an elimination match, so we wouldn’t get the obnoxiously predictable “heels start arguing the moment one of them goes for a cover” part that leads to the breakdown of the alliance. Then that started to happen almost immediately because apparently in ECWA a “Three-Way Dance” does not mean an elimination match like it does in ECW and other places. This is something that really drives me nuts. Is it really that hard for promotions to keep these names consistent? You’d think it’d be even easier for ECWA in this case because they’re clearly stealing the name from the much more popular promotion from their area, but apparently not.
Anyway, that story basically killed the match for a while, as it just devolved into the same exact spot over and over and over again: the heels hit Simon with a move, then one of them goes for the pin and the other runs over and breaks it up. On the bright side, it did make me want to see Simon make a comeback, but more to just end this damn thing than because I actually gave a sh*t about Simon Diamond.
Simon did make a small comeback but got cut off again, and this time Inferno started to make some rude comments and obscene gestures towards Dawn Marie. This led to Dawn pulled him off of a pin cover, which in turn led to him grabbing her by the hair and pulling her into the ring. Simon saved Dawn Marie from being hit with a move, and Dawn Marie hit Inferno with a very bad dropkick to send him into the Simonizer, but then Simon just collapsed and Bradley hit Inferno with a moonsault for the win. This felt like it had a lot of potential in the beginning but was just destroyed by their decision to have the heels be able to successfully work together for only about ninety seconds before their alliance broke and the match was crushed under the weight of the repetitiveness.
CHAIN MATCH FOR THE ECWA MID-ATLANTIC HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE: Glen Osbourne(c) vs. Patch (w/Barry Casino)- 4.25/10
VIPER (w/his unnamed friends) vs. BOOGIE WOOGIE BROWN (w/Captain Lou Albano)- DUD!
Some sort if heel faction cut a long and annoying series of in-ring promos before this match. Then Captain Lou came out with Boogie Woogie Brown and beat Viper in a very boring three-minute match, which appeared to either be clipped for time or had the middle screwed up by some camera trouble. Either way, it wasn’t fun to watch, and when combined with the pre-match stuff just made we wish they had cut the whole thing from the tape. After the match, Boogie Woogie Brown cut a meh babyface promo, then brought some fans into the ring to dance with him. Captain Lou did nothing but stand there pretty much the entire time.
PRINCE OF DARKNESS BLINDFOLD MATCH: Ty Street vs. Kevin Kelly- no rating… AWESOME segment
Yes. That Kevin Kelly. The announcer. Being the heel, he of course, waited for Street to have his blindfold on before charging into the ring and attacking him before the ref had a chance to blindfold Kevin as well. He pulled a hidden foreign object out of his pocket (probably a phantom one, but the fact that I’m not sure tells you how well he did it) and nailed Street with it, then just tried to walk away and not have the match. Fortunately, Simon Diamond and Dawn Marie showed up to cut off his retreat, and Dawn Marie hit him in the nuts, which allowed Simon to tie to the blindfold on him and throw him back into the ring so we could finally have our match.
They did your typical Blindfold Match stuff, groping around and just missing each other, with the babyface getting some direction from the fans before eventually getting his hands on the heel. The first time Street managed to get his hands on Kevin Kelly, he grabbed him by the waistband and Kevin was able to escape to the outside. Of course, this meant Kevin was on the outside and couldn’t see, and so when his back bumped into something solid he immediately assumed it was Street and turned around and threw a big right and made solid contact with the thing he had bumped into… which, unfortunately for Kevin, was the ringpost. I laughed my ass off at that.
More blindfold match shenanigans occurred, setting up a ref bump, which allowed some of Kevin Kelly’s Connecticut Connection buddies the Haas Brothers to run in. You’d have thought Simon Diamond might come out again to help Street but he didn’t. Thankfully, Charlie and Russ left on their own, leaving Street and Kevin alone in the ring again.
Kevin Kelly decided that he would try his hand at doing the babyface attempt to get directional help from the crowd, so he pointed exactly where Street was… and the fans booed, so Kevin then pointed elsewhere and the fans cheered, so Kevin went for a big splash and hit nothing but canvass. Kevin apparently thought that Street moved rather than realizing that the fans lied to him so he did the same thing and this time wound up fist-dropping the mat.
We got some more standard blindfold match stuff with the babyface finally getting to punch the heel, then another spot where a wrestler mistakenly hits the referee (in this case the downed Kevin Kelly headbutted the poor ref right in the nuts)… and then a man dressed in a suit showed up in the ring with a chair and nailed Kevin Kelly in the head, then helped guide Street to the top turnbuckle to hit his big leg drop and get the win. We never got a good shot of the man’s face (even when he walked right by the camera the poor lighting meant that half of his face was hidden in shadow), but the profile looked kind of familiar, so I looked it up on the internet (I found results from the archives of a google group that reposted things from the famous rec.sport.pro-wrestling UseNet), and it turns out my hunch was correct: I just saw f*cking MICHAEL COLE do a run-in on an INDY SHOW to HIT KEVIN KELLY IN THE HEAD WITH A CHAIR and screw him out of a BLINDFOLD MATCH! I have now officially seen everything.
Blindfold matches are notoriously bad, and with good reason. At best there isn’t too much to do, and at worst you have a disaster like Lockdown 2007 where the blindfolds keep falling off and it makes every look hokey and stupid. This has got to be the single best Blindfold Match of all time. I would go back and watch this match again, probably even multiple times. And that is something I never imagined I would say about a Blindfold Match.
The comedy was wonderful, the pacing was amazing, Kevin Kelly was an OUTSTANDING buffoon heel, and the babyface got his hands on the heel at the end. It wasn’t without its flaws (Street found the turnbuckle way too easily at the end, and while the ref didn’t see the chairshot, there was no way he could have missed Cole standing in the ring with the chair, and he never once acknowledged his presence [though I guess it’s possible that ECWA matches have no DQs, but then why did people feel the need to wait for a ref bump to interfere?]), but unless you’ve got two guys who are good enough that I can believe they can chain wrestle purely by feel, I don’t see how a Blindfold Match can get any better than this. (And if you do have two guys like that, why the f*ck would you book them in a Blindfold Match?)
CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. RECKLESS YOUTH- 7/10
We got great pre-match promos form both wrestlers, establishing Daniels as the heel and Reckless as the babyface. While these two were talking, a mysterious woman appeared right up against the edge of the ring. Neither man had come out with anyone else and she didn’t seem to be reacting to anything they were saying; just looking down and fiddling with something on the ring apron. Then the floor-cam moved a bit and I figured out who she was and what she was doing there: she was a photographer loading a new roll of film into her camera. That’s something you don’t see anymore.
The match itself was an exciting match with big spots and bigger kick-outs. Daniels picked up the completely clean win, which I think ids something you need to do every once in a while to keep your heels feeling truly credible.
JEFF PETERSON IS INDUCTED INTO THE ECWA HALL OF FAME- this was very good for what it was, but the odd part is that after they cut it off for the commercial release, they apparently did a MAJOR angle for the live crowd with ECWA Heavyweight Champion JJ the Ring Crew Guy turning heel and attacking Peterson. Not putting this on the tape would have been an odd choice under any circumstances, but with JJ defending the title in the main event, people like myself watching at home are probably going to be confused as hell when JJ comes out to defend the title in the main event and gets booed instead of his usual cheers.
ECWA HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: JJ The Ring Crew Guy(c) vs. The Cheetah Master (w/Captain Lou Albano)- 7.5/10
JJ came out second and told Cheetah Master that he was just going to walk out and thus get disqualified so Cheetah Master wouldn’t win the belt. Um… first of all, if you don’t get in the ring to start the match in the first place, isn’t that a forfeit, which actually should be a title change? And even if that weren’t the case, wouldn’t it be a count-out rather than a DQ? Or maybe they’re using the original ROH/current EVOLVE “no count-outs but the ref can DQ you if he thinks it has gotten out of control and the wrestlers have no intention of heading back to the ring” rules? I don’t know. Another thing I don’t know is why JJ threw two bananas down the ramp.
Anyway, JJ went backstage to leave so Cheetah Master chased him down and they brawled around. The combination of the camera-work, production quality, and lighting made this unwatchable. 1993 ECW was better, and that is certainly a damning statement. Hell, the 1991 Tri-State Wrestling Alliance show I watched did a better job covering brawls than this did! Fortunately they got back to the ring relatively quickly so this didn’t drag the match down too much.
This was one of the harder matches I’ve ever had to rate because so much about it felt so odd. They went close to a half an hour and it was a great, intense brawl at times with a few really big spots, but aside from those spots like a big dive or a dropkick with a chair or whatever, they were just doing a lot of extremely basic stuff like clotheslines and vertical suplexes, and, while it’s possible to have a great, intense match only doing that stuff, it felt like these guys thought those spots were a lot bigger spots than they really were. And this isn’t just a “well, the match was eighteen years ago” issue. Most of their stuff was basic and tame for what you’d see guys doing in WWF or WCW (never mind ECW) on any given night at that point. It felt like either these guys thought they were having this big spot fest when they really weren’t, or like they just filled the middle 80% of their match with back-and-forth stuff that you’d see in the opening 10% of most others, without any real story to speak of other than “we don’t like each other so we’re going to do stuff to each other to try to win.” The intensity was there, but something fundamental felt like it was missing.
A few minutes before the end of the match, JJ got tired of the referee’s constant yapping (I was, too) so he hit him in the head with a chair. At this point, after at least twenty minutes of mostly just brawling, they suddenly started to tell the story of JJ working over Cheetah Master’s leg. A second referee came out and they did some really great stuff with a Figure Four… and then Cheetah Master just stopped selling his injured limb, superkicked a chair into JJ’s face, and pinned him to win the title. It was SOOOO strange. It was like they had this big brawl they wanted to do, then someone told them they absolutely HAD to do some limb-work and a submission so they just inserted that into the end of their match, and then once they had put in minimum required time for limb-work they just forgot about it again and did the finish they originally had planned as though that added limb-work part of the match had never happened.
This was a fun little show to watch, even if chunks of it weren’t very good. The matches I expected to deliver certainly delivered, the Blindfold Match defied my expectations in mind-blowing ways, and I got to see Scoot Andrews in his prime for the first time. Plus, I also see Daniels wrestle with hair for the first time, so that was cool, too. Apparently this show also had a Briscoes vs. Haas Brothers match that wasn’t included on the commercial release (I know that sounds exciting, but it apparently had a Russo Swerve-esque finish) as well as an “ECWA Legends Battle Royale” which doesn’t sound anywhere near as exciting. Still, a good presentation from the ECWA. Maybe there’s a rematch of that Briscoes vs. Haas Brothers match on a future show with a clean finish that will draw me back to this time period in ECWA.
PWG, EVOLVE, AAW, WWN, etc
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WWE in 2005
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PWG All-Star Weekend V: Night 2
ECW Guilty As Charged 1999
WWE in 2005
FIP in 2005
PWG All-Star Weekend V: Night 2
ECW Guilty As Charged 1999
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